Families of Egyptian hostages in Libya urge action from state as IS kidnapping photos emerge
Coptic Christians working in Libya have in recent months been targeted by Islamist militias, which has included kidnappings and executions
Ayat Al-Tawy, Friday 13 Feb 2015
Families of almost two dozen Coptic Egyptians taken hostages in Libya staged a rally in Cairo on Friday to urge action from authorities after Islamic State fighters claimed the kidnapping of the men.
Fears have heightened over the fate of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians after the ultra-hardline group published a report purportedly showing photos of the men, claiming they had been captured to avenge the Muslim women “tortured and murdered by the Coptic church of Egypt”.
The undated photos published in the latest edition of a magazine affiliated to the extremist group and dated December-January showed captive workers handcuffed, and wearing orange-colored jumpsuits often donned by Islamic State prisoners about to be executed by the jihadists.
Dozens protested on Friday outside Egypt’s Journalist Syndicate in downtown Cairo, holding photos of the kidnapped and shouting slogans lamenting the government’s perceived “inaction.”
“We either want them back or at least learn if they had been killed,” one of the participants in the rally said.
The protestors also shouted “where are our brothers in Libya?” and “where is El-Sisi…where is El Sisi?”
Demonstrators then made their way to Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral to “pray for the captives.”
The Egyptian Coptic Christians were kidnapped in late December and January in two raids in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, now in the hands of Islamist militants.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said an emergency plan is in place to evacuate Egyptians wishing to return home out of Libya, state-run news agency MENA said.
Thousands of Egyptians work in Libya, a key destination for Egyptian migrant workers from rural areas, mainly in the construction and craft industry.
The Islamic State group, which has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq, said in the report its expansion into Libya, Egypt’s Sinai and other regions allowed it “to easily capture the Coptic crusaders”.
It urged Muslims to beware that God will reward “those who spill the blood of these Coptic crusaders wherever they may be found.”
Egypt’s most active militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, swore allegiance to Islamic State last year, changing its name to Sinai Province.
A statement from the office of Egyptian President Abdul Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday said a special committee was closely following developments in the kidnapping in order to “clarify the situation and learn the truth”.
In February 2014, seven Egyptian Christians were found shot dead execution-style on a beach in eastern Libya.
Egypt’s government has repeatedly warned in recent months against any travel to Libya , and advised those residing in the North African country to stay away from areas of tension.
Families of Coptic Christians Executed by Da’esh in Sirte Appeal to El-Sisi to Intervene
Families of the abductees appealed to President Sisi to intervene to save their loved ones, or at least meet them in order to be to briefed on the details of the abduction, over 40 days ago.
Sites related to ‘Daash,’ otherwise known as the ‘Islamic State’ published on Thursday pictures of the abducted Coptic workers, wearing orange execution dresses, their hands tightened with ropes, and being lead by masked men on a sea shore.
They are shown in another picture with knives put over their throats in a slaughter position.
The abductees are construction workers who belong to the Samalot and Matai districts, in the Minya governorate, in Upper Egypt.
The “Media Office” of Daesh in Tripoli has previously published their photos on January 12. The related statement announced that the abductees were Crusaders prisoners.
Thursday’s publication says that they have been “captured by members of the organization in retaliation of what the West inflicts upon Muslims.”
Families of the kidnapped workers confirmed being able to recognize their sons dressed in orange.
The families appealed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to intervene to save their loved ones, or at least agree to meet them in order to be to briefed on the details of the abduction of their loved ones over 40 days ago.
Coptic Solidarity Demands Urgent Actions to Save Kidnapped Copts in Libya
The Islamic States magazine published an article in its latest issue #7 titled “Revenge for the Muslimat Persecuted by the Coptic Crusaders” See the article here (pdf)
A new report by the Islamic State has just been published with photos alluding to the possible execution of the 21 Coptic Christian construction workers kidnapped from their place of employment in Sirte Libya. Coptic Solidarity condemns this heinous kidnapping and urges the Egyptian government to do everything possible to save the Coptic hostages.
Websites related to the Islamic State published pictures of the abducted Coptic workers, wearing orange execution dresses, their hands tightened with ropes, and being led by masked men on a sea shore. They are shown in another picture with knives put over their throats in a slaughter position. While showing the Coptic abductees in death dress, there was no explicit mention of whether they have already been executed.
The abductees are construction workers who belong to the Samalot and Matai districts, in the Minya governorate, in Upper Egypt. Families of the abductees appealed yet again to President Sisi to intervene to save their loved ones, or at least meet them in order to be to briefed on the details of the abduction which occurred over 40 days ago.
The Islamic State’s magazine Dabiq included an article in its latest issue #7 attacking “the Coptic Crusaders.” Thursday’s publication says that the abducted workers have been “captured by members of the organization in retaliation of what the West inflicts upon Muslims.” Accusing the Copts of being the followers of the late (Pope) Shenouda and the supporters of the taghut (tyrant) Sisi, the article boasted that the Islamic State “strikes terror in the hearts of the Copts.” This presumably refers to the capture of 21 Coptic workers in Libya almost six weeks ago and prior attacks on churches in Egypt.
The article concluded with a call to kill Copts anywhere: “Finally, it is important for Muslims everywhere to know that there is no doubt in the great reward to be found on Judgment Day for those who spill the blood of these Coptic crusaders wherever they may be found…”
Coptic Solidarity holds the Egyptian government responsible to protect its own citizens in Libya, including evacuating them from areas of danger. The Egyptian government to date has been lax and done very little regarding the despicable deaths and kidnapping of Copts in Libya.
Coptic Solidarity urges President al-Sissi to immediately take the lead to save the innocent workers, abducted for their faith and possibly to revenge Mr. Sissi’s war on Islamist fighters. Confronting the Islamist State terrorists in Egypt’s western flank is no less important than combating them in Sinai.
Coptic Solidarity is non-profit organization dedicated to leading efforts to achieve equal citizenship for the Copts in Egypt and minorities in Middle East. For more information, contact Lindsay Vessey at 801-512-1713 or firstname.lastname@example.org